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Penny Gibson of Surrey B.C., is hoping Review readers have information to share with her on a medical fraternity pin that belonged to her late father.
I have a Queen’s meds fraternity pin that belonged to my father, John J. Gilson, MD’38. He gave it to me a short time before he died in 1999, aged 85. I was the oldest of three children and became a registered nurse in 1968, and so my father taught me many things medical.
I also have a picture of the Medical Fraternities House at Queen’s, which was located near the campus. When I was in Kingston in 2000, I drove past the house while I was on my way to Picton, my mother’s hometown. Her name was Freda Healy, BA’37, and she met my father when they were both at Queen's. (My grandfather Frederick Healy, born on Wolfe Island, graduated from RMC and was a civil engineer.)
After having my father’s fraternity pin in my jewelry box for a few years, I had it made into a ring and became curious as to the name of the fraternity and what the Greek letters stood for. My curiosity led me to the article “Fraternal follies”, which appeared in Review Plus, the Review’s on-line supplement (Issue #4-2009).
I also have a large plastic replica of the Queen's coat of arms. I don't know when it became part of my Father's belongings, if not from his days at Queen's, maybe from the 25th reunion of Meds’38.
I accompanied my parents on a 1963 cross-Canada train trip they took to attend that fall reunion. That occasion was my introduction to Queen’s and to my mother's hometown of Picton, Ontario. My parents hoped I’d also attend Queen's, but I too much of a homebody. I often wish now that I’d been more adventuresome.
I have taken a photo of my father’s fraternity pin (below). As you can see, there are four seed pearls down the centre bar of the letter “N” and seven garnets on the two upright bars.
I don't know the proper way of looking at the letters, and so I hope the angle of the pictures is OK. There are some engravings of letters and numbers on the back of the pin. Some of them are difficult to make out, having been interfered with during the process of incorporating the pin into a ring. There is a visible "J. J. GIBSON", 145?38” [sic], what appears to a “B” with an “M”, but the latter letter is on its side with the peaks on the top if the “M”, facing the “B”. There is also a stand-alone “B”, that I think was the beginning of the word BIRKS, but the rest was obliterated when the ring band was attached to the pin.
If anyone has any further information to share about my father’s fraternity pin or the medical fraternity at Queen’s, I would be grateful.
A copy of the Review Plus article on campus fraternities that the writer mentions has been reposted at http://www.queensu.ca/news/alumnireview/fraternal-follies-0 — Ed.